Functional MRI (fMRI) was used to assess proprioceptive-associated cervical cord activity in 24 relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and 10 controls. Cord and brain conventional and diffusion tensor (DT) MRI were also acquired. fMRI was performed using a block design during a proprioceptive stimulation consisting of a passive flexion-extension of the right upper limb. Cord lesion number, cross-sectional area, mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA), whole brain and left corticospinal tract lesion volume (LV), gray matter (GM) MD, and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) MD and FA were calculated. MS patients had higher average cord fMRI signal changes than controls (3.4% vs. 2.7%, P = 0.03). Compared to controls, MS patients also had a higher average signal change in the anterior section of the right cord at C5 (P = 0.005) and left cord at C5-C6 (P = 0.03), whereas no difference was found in the other cord sections. Cord average signal change correlated significantly with cord FA and brain left corticospinal tract LV, GM-MD, and NAWM-FA. This study shows an abnormal pattern of activations in the cervical cord of MS patients following proprioceptive stimulation. Cord fMRI changes might have a role in limiting the clinical consequences of MS associated with irreversible tissue damage.
- Cervical cord
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
- Multiple sclerosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology